State objection likely to shut down Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York, US

12 November 2015 (Last Updated November 12th, 2015 18:30)

New York Department of State (DOS) has filed an objection to Entergy’s request for renewing the federal license of the Indian Point Energy Centre (IPEC), which generates over 2GW of nuclear power in the US state.

Indian Point NPP

New York Department of State (DOS) has filed an objection to Entergy’s request for renewing the federal license of the Indian Point Energy Centre (IPEC), which generates over 2GW of nuclear power in the US state.

Entergy had been seeking a Coastal Consistency Determination for the nuclear facility, which is located in Buchanan, in order to extend its operating license for 20 more years.

The state objection cites multiple environmental and public safety concerns and has the potential to force the operator to close the Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors at the plant as soon as next year.

Entergy, however, asserts that the state certificate is not mandatory for the plant to continue its operations.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, which functions under the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), will be deciding over the dispute next week.

"The NRC is prohibited from re-licensing the nuclear unit until the US Secretary of Commerce overrides the DOS objection."

The facility will continue to operate until the nuclear authority takes a final decision on the license renewal, after evaluating potential safety threats posed by the ageing units.

The state objection has cited that the facility is damaging coastal resources of the Hudson River. It is claimed to be affecting the heavily populated area and its potable water source, owing to its proximity to two active seismic faults.

The NRC is prohibited from re-licensing the nuclear unit until the US Secretary of Commerce overrides the DOS objection.

The Unit 1 reactor at the plant had already been shut down in 1974. One of the original 40-year licenses for the other two operational units has also expired in 2013, while the other will be expiring on 12 December.


Image: Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson river. Photo: courtesy of Tony / Wikipedia